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“Save Hong Kong” – City Braces For Clashes In Yuen Long

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Saturday, July 27th, 2019
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Fear of Chinese military intervention hangs over escalating protests

As violence escalates in Hong Kong, many fear that China’s military will be deployed to stifle protests in the city — and now, United States congressmen are getting involved.

Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, chair and co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued a joint statement on Wednesday urging the Trump administration to condemn the threat of Chinese military intervention.

“Threats of intervention by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Hong Kong are unacceptable and needlessly escalate tensions. Escalation of violence – whether on the part of organized crime thugs or the PLA – will only further undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and rule of law,” the joint statement read.

They added they “stand with those in Hong Kong who are peacefully promoting democratic principles and the rule of law,” and urged the administration to “condemn any threats to Hong Kong citizens and U.S. residents of Hong Kong.”

Local fears of the Chinese military were stoked this week when a Chinese spokesperson said the PLA was watching the situation in Hong Kong closely, and pointed to a Hong Kong law that allows the local government to request military assistance in maintaining public order.

Roads in Yuen Long packed with anti-violence marchers

In just two hours, a street in the northern Hong Kong town of Yuen Long has become a sea of umbrellas.

These two photos taken just two hours apart show how many people have come out for the eighth-week in a row to protest against the government and attacks on marchers.

The protest, which was not given police permission to go ahead and is technically unlawful, is expected to continue down Castle Peak Road to the Yuen Long MTR station, around 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) from where the march began.

Law enforcement taunted as protesters move past police station

The protest numbers are beginning to swell, with thousands packing the main high street on Castle Peak Road.

As the crowds pass the Yuen Long police station, several young people begin to yell taunts at the police officers assembled behind the station’s gates.

Despite the march being declared illegal by the Hong Kong police, there has been no effort to break it up so far.

 hong kong
 

The protests started peacefully — but they’re getting bloody

These two months of protests started peacefully — but they have escalated into violence, leaving the city bracing for more bloody clashes.

Here’s a breakdown of the violence:

  • Clashes with police: Protesters and riot police have clashed at nearly every recent protest, with riot police firing rubber bullets and tear gas.
  • Storming the Legislative Council: In a major escalation, protesters stormed and trashed the city government headquarters on July 1, leaving a trail of destruction.
  • Bomb raid: Last Friday, police seized a huge cache of high-powered explosives, petrol bombs, and other weapons in a warehouse. Three men with alleged links to a pro-independence group have been arrested in connection with the seizure.
  • Yuen Long attack: In the latest and most violent incident, white-shirted mobs suspected to be criminal triad members attacked people in the Yuen Long subway station with metal poles and batons. They appeared to target protesters, but commuters were also beaten, and at least 45 people were injured.

Here’s what to expect today

Tensions are high as protesters head back to Yuen Long, where mobs armed with metal poles and batons brutally attacked passengers at a subway station last weekend.

The attackers, widely speculated to be members of organized crime groups, wore white T-shirts and attacked people dressed in black, the colour of the pro-democracy and anti-bill protest. At least 45 people were injured.

Now, the protesters are heading back to the site of the attack, in a march titled: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Police declined to grant protesters a letter of no objection for Saturday’s demonstration, meaning it will be classified as an unauthorized assembly once attendance tops 50 people.

Here’s what you need to know today:

  • What’s happening: The protest, in response to last weekend’s attacks, is slated to start at 3 p.m., at the Shui Pin Tsuen playground.
  • Where it’s going: The originally planned protest route takes marchers down Castle Peak Road, in the centre of Yuen Long, and finish at the subway station.
  • Security/police presence: Police have already begun appearing at the site of the protest, with an hour still to go before it begins. Though authorities have declared the march illegal, it is unclear what action they might take.

 

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